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Cunae, Cunabŭla

λίκνον, σκάφη). A cradle. It has been thought that cradles were little used by

Cradle. (Museum at Beaune.)

the Greeks, at least in early times; since Plato, in a passage on the putting of infants to sleep, mentions only singing the lullaby and rocking in the arms ( Leg. vii. 790D). But various substitutes are mentioned. Heracles, according to tradition, was cradled in his father's shield (Theocr. xxiv. 4); Dionysus in a winnowing-fan (λίκνον, vannus), which accordingly was borne in his processions; other deities in the same manner. The ark or cradle in which children were exposed is alveus, σκάφη; but it is only in quite late authors that we find σκάφην διασείειν, “to rock the cradle” (H. A. xi. 14).

In the Roman period cradles were regularly used (Plaut. Truc. v. 13 and elsewhere), and were made to rock. We find a female slave called cunaria (Grut. Inscript. 311, 7); and a male slave, who perhaps in time became the child's paedagogus cunarum motor, Mart. xi. 39, 1).

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